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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Ampleforth and Downside (English Benedictine Congregation case study) Investigation Report


19. There have been a number of allegations of child sexual abuse at Ampleforth between the 1960s and the present day. However, with the exception of one or two cases, such as that of Fr Bernard Green in 1995, the vast majority only came to light as a result of developments following the Nolan Report in 2001 and Operation Ellipse in 2005, considered further below.

20. The purpose of the Nolan Report was to examine the arrangements that the Catholic Church had in place to protect and prevent the abuse of children within its institutions in England and Wales, including the religious orders. The Nolan Committee first met in September 2000. The committee’s first report was presented to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference at Easter 2001, when the recommendations were said to have been unanimously accepted by the Bishops’ Conference. The final Nolan Report was published in September 2001 and made 83 recommendations.

21. In 2000, psychologist Dr Elizabeth Mann met Abbot Timothy Wright at a Catholic conference at which she presented a paper dealing with the psychosexual and related problems of priests and religious. Abbot Timothy Wright was interested in Dr Mann’s research and invited her to Ampleforth[1] to ‘assist with the personal development’[2] of monks. As part of this work she carried out psychological assessments of several monks at the abbey. There were no safeguarding measures or child protection policies in place at the time. In May 2001 Abbot Wright asked Dr Mann for advice on how to proceed with the recommendations of the first draft of the Nolan Report.

22. The bulk of Dr Elizabeth Mann’s work at Ampleforth took place between 2000 and 2003.[3] During this time she met many monks, including Fr Piers Grant-Ferris and Fr Gregory Carroll. There were several complaints of child sexual abuse against Fr Piers Grant-Ferris going back to 1975, and as a result Dr Elizabeth Mann recommended that Abbot Timothy Wright appoint Dr Ruth Mann to produce a risk assessment of him, which he did. Dr Ruth Mann (who was Elizabeth Mann’s daughter) was a principal forensic psychologist who specialised in the assessment and treatment of men accused of child sexual abuse. During her assessments of Fr Piers Grant-Ferris it became clear that the abuse went back even further than they had been told, to the 1960s, and that Ampleforth had not initially disclosed everything to the Manns.[4] Similarly, when Dr Elizabeth Mann assessed Fr Gregory Carroll, she discovered he too had been accused of child sexual abuse, but this had not been disclosed to her by Abbot Timothy Wright.[5]

23. Recommendations made by Dr Ruth and Dr Elizabeth Mann were not followed, and there was disagreement as to how some offending monks, including Piers Grant-Ferris and Gregory Carroll, should be dealt with, including in respect of reporting them to the statutory authorities. As a result, both the Manns fell out of favour with Abbot Timothy Wright. Following disclosures about Piers Grant-Ferris made by Dr Ruth Mann to Eileen Shearer, then director of the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (COPCA) in September 2002, and about Fr Gregory Carroll made by Elizabeth Mann made to David Molesworth, then general manager of North Yorkshire social services in October 2003, police became involved and began to liaise with Ampleforth, holding a first meeting there in August 2003.

24. The result was Operation Ellipse, the police operation set up to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse at Ampleforth. It formally began in 2004 and concluded in 2006. It led to the convictions of Piers Grant-Ferris and Gregory Carroll for the sexual abuse of boys under the age of 14 who had been boarders at school. During the investigation, several other allegations against monks and lay members of staff came to light relating to sexual abuse and inappropriate behaviour towards children at the school.

25. To provide an overview of what took place at Ampleforth, and to illustrate the changes and progression, we have set out the key accounts of abuse given below. There is significant overlap in time between the events. We set them out as far as is possible in chronological order.

26. We begin with what we heard about physical and emotional abuse at Ampleforth in the early years (1960–1980), which on numerous occasions paved the way for sexual abuse. We then outline the key accounts of sexual abuse that took place between approximately 1960 and 2010, listing them by alleged perpetrator. This is followed by an assessment of the institutional responses to the allegations, both before and after the Nolan Report. This includes Ampleforth’s own response and Operation Ellipse. Finally, we consider what we heard of more recent accounts of sexual abuse upon Ampleforth pupils, and the inspection reports of 2016–2017.

27. We have not been able to hear evidence from several individuals who are now deceased. These include Cardinal Basil Hume, Dom Ambrose Griffiths and Dom Patrick Barry. Others were too unwell to attend but did provide statements, including Fr Dominic Milroy, Dom Timothy Wright (who died on 13 May 2017), DS Hartnett, Dr Elizabeth Mann and Dr Ruth Mann.

Physical and emotional abuse 1960–1980

28. The evidence about the school between 1960 and 1980 has revealed several accounts of both physical and emotional abuse towards pupils, often intertwined. Children as young as six or seven were sent to board at the school, where they were placed into the care of individuals, some of whom went on to mistreat them. The environment as described to us by the witnesses was not conducive to pupils making disclosures of sexual or other abuse; the person who was supposed to be their first port of call was often unsympathetic and even frightening.

29. Three accounts of experiences of physical abuse at Gilling Castle between the 1960s and 1980s are set out below. We have chosen these accounts because either (i) the physical abuse appears to us to have sexual overtones, (ii) the victim was subsequently sexually abused, (iii) the abuser went on to sexually abuse another child, or (iv) there may be a suggestion that the way children were treated was known to others within the institution who were either complicit or did nothing to prevent it.


30. RC-A61 went to Gilling Castle in 1965 at the age of seven and remained there for four years, before going on to study at Ampleforth College until the age of 18. His form master was RC-F4, who he described as ‘physically violent from the outset’ and ‘a nasty, cruel, physically violent man’.[6] RC-A61 told us that he had been both physically and psychologically abused while at Ampleforth. He recalled how RC-F4 would place him on the long tables and then beat him on his backside ‘so that my whole body would be moved by the force of the beatings along a shined table top’,[7] and how he often didn’t know what he was being beaten for.

31. RC-A61’s form master in his second and third years at Gilling Castle was Fr Piers Grant-Ferris, who was also physically abusive, beating boys for the slightest transgression such as climbing a tree above the height of their head or reading a Marvel comic.[8] Sometimes he would simply walk around the tables at meal times and tap a boy on the shoulder for no apparent reason, choosing him to be his next victim. RC-A61 told us:

If he stopped behind you, then you knew it was you, and if he stopped behind someone else and tapped them – one thing that disturbs me to this day was the feeling of relief that it wasn’t going to be me, but I knew what was going to happen to those boys as well.[9]

32. RC-A61 also described how another form tutor, RC-F10, appeared to be complicit in what Fr Piers was doing, as he would pass boys on to him for punishment. RC-A61 said he was ‘absolutely sure, absolutely no doubt in my mind’[10] that RC-F10 was aware of the way such punishments were delivered. The boys thought that RC-F10 was creepy, and RC-A61 gave RC-F10 the nickname ‘Feeder Priest’.[11]


33. RC-A154 also attended Gilling Castle in the mid-1960s when he was seven years old, and progressed to Ampleforth College, where he remained until he was 16.[12] He describes another monastic teacher as ‘an out-and-out sadist’ who ‘would regularly beat boys in front of each other’ and ‘would beat me … for no reason at all’ and was ‘known for his sadistic wrath’.[13]


34. RC-A2 was a pupil at Gilling Castle from 1972 to 1978. He was put down for Ampleforth at birth and joined the school as a boarder at the age of six. He recalls leaving his mother at the train station on the first day. When he and the other boys, many of whom had been crying or sick on the train, arrived at Gilling:

It was dark, it was cold ... and it was quite imposing … we went into the refectory and had milk and biscuits. Again, it was a heavily-panelled, dark-wood refectory, with wooden tables, and, being totally unfamiliar to us it was quite – it was just quite big and difficult … . It felt like Colditz, what I saw as a kid.[14]

35. He described his first impressions of seeing monks in habits, saying:

It’s just quite an unusual sight, really, isn’t it, for a monk in black robes, you’ve never seen ... in a castle, you’re six and you’re away from home, and you don’t want to be there, you want to be with your mum … it made me feel quite nervous, to be honest.[15] … The monks used to walk through the dormitories, but they appeared to be floating in a way because they were very quiet and they were in robes ... you’d sort of see them, so you just had shadows. It was quite unnerving, really.[16]

36. He described his form master, again RC-F4, as having a very bad temper who he remembered as:

A picture of a man shouting at six-year-old boys … a big bloke, screaming at a young lad, going red … He was a scary bloke, really scary … [but] he was like our mum and dad. He was the last person you saw at night who put the lights out, he came and woke us up every morning and if we had any problems we had to – he was our reference point ... he was the person who was basically everything to us. He was the person who we had to see if we had any problems.[17]

37. RC-A2 remembered how one night he was crying with his head under the blanket and RC-F4 came in and pulled back his covers, but rather than asking if he was all right, said: ‘Are you trying to keep the rest of the dormitory awake?’ RC-A2 added: ‘I think that is the last time I ever cried. I don’t think I ever cried again.’[18]

38. RC-A2 went on to tell us how he was hit quite a few times by teachers in the school. He described one master, who was an alcoholic, hitting him on the head so hard that his head bounced off his desk.

He used to do that regularly for no apparent reason … For me, my biggest problem has been having a shutdown of emotions for most of my life and that was caused because I had to at school, otherwise I wouldn’t have got on and been able to deal with school, and I believe that deserves an apology.[19] … I’ve had my issues, and that’s why I’m here, because I think some of the things that happened to me were wrong and I think the atmosphere there was wrong.[20]

39. RC-A2 also told us that he thought that: ‘If you run an institution like that, your very best person possible should be looking after the smallest children, the very best, the cream of the crop.’[21]

Accounts of child sexual abuse before the Nolan Report (1960–2001)

RC-F3 (1960s–1970s)

40. RC-F3 was a monk in a senior position at Gilling Castle from 1953 to 1964. RC-A154, one of the three pupils mentioned above, has said that he was abused over two years, starting in 1967 or 1968:

At nights in the dorm after lights out, RC-F3 would come and sit on my bed and comfort me. After about two weeks, he asked me if I wanted some cocoa ... I followed him to his study ... RC-F3 asked if he could wash me, which meant me undoing my pyjamas and placing my penis into his mouth. I would do the same to him. I can remember his striped pyjamas and having to untie the white drawstring. It eventually landed up with me in RC-F3’s bed where he would also join me, and I remember him putting his penis into my backside.[22]

41. RC-A154 was only seven or eight years old. He made no complaint at the time. He told us that he was also physically abused by RC-F4 during this period (see above) and that he was later sexually abused by RC-F1[23] and then by Fr Piers Grant-Ferris.[24] RC-A154 moved up to Ampleforth College at the age of 14, in the mid-1970s, where he was abused again, by a senior pupil RC-F164.[25] RC-A154 made a statement to the police on 29 December 2004 for the purpose of the police investigation Operation Ellipse, and this was used in the prosecution of Fr Piers Grant-Ferris in 2006.[26]

42. It is not known whether any other children have suggested abuse by RC-F3. At the time of Operation Ellipse, in 2005, North Yorkshire Police (NYP) were contacted by an individual who described him as being ‘the worst offender by far’,[27] but the police have been unable to confirm this information, and no other victims have come forward. RC-F3 died in 1971,[28] so no prosecution was possible. The Inquiry has seen no evidence to suggest that any of those teaching or in governance at the school or the abbey were aware of what may have been taking place.

RC-F1 (1960s–1970s)

43. RC-F1 was not a monk but worked as a cleaner at Gilling Castle in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[29] He also ran one of the school’s extracurricular clubs, and we have learnt that he used this to access, groom and sexually abuse at least 11 children over a sustained period of time.[30] The majority of RC-F1’s victims appear to have been aged between eight and 12. They include RC-158, RC-183, RC-162, RC-180 and RC-A238. Many of them were also abused by Fr Piers Grant-Ferris.

44. Witness statements from two of RC-F1’s pupils were read out to us during the hearings.[31] RC-A154 (as referred to elsewhere) gave the following account:

I will always remember my first meeting with him. I was in the toilets standing at the urinals when RC-F1 came in. He put his hand up my bottom which stemmed the flow of urine. I didn’t know how, but I was not able to pass urine due to the position of his hand.[32][During the club] he asked to hold me … [he] knelt down. He took out my penis and put it in his mouth. There was this thing called the circle jerk where we [a group of boys] would hold each other, we would hold penises in our hand or in our mouths. RC-F1 would give us rewards. This went on until I left Gilling, which I did moving on to junior house.

45. RC-A182 said:

[RC-F1 would] give and receive oral sex, both privately and in front of other pupils in the workshop. The pupils would then independently go off in groups for oral sex with each other in the woods. An atmosphere was created which made it easier for Fr Piers to operate and find previously groomed victims.[33]

46. No complaints were made at the time and RC-F1 died in 1994, around 10 years before the start of Operation Ellipse. Statements given to the police indicate that the alleged abuse consisted of mutual masturbation, digital penetration of the anus, oral sex and forcing children to perform masturbation and oral sex on each other, and that it primarily took place at the club. In a meeting between Detective Superintendent (DSU) Barry Honeysett, the senior investigating police officer in Operation Ellipse, and Abbot Cuthbert and others from Ampleforth on 25 April 2006, it was said that the allegations against RC-F1 may well have been the most serious of all the child abuse allegations at the school. It is recorded in the minutes of the meeting that DSU Honeysett commented: ‘The fact that this was common knowledge would indicate that there was no way of making ... the pupils’ concerns to staff [known].’ He also said he ‘had very strong information that members of the community and other staff were aware of RC-F1’s behaviour but did nothing about it ... there was knowledge of inappropriate behaviour and it was not dealt with properly.’[34]

Fr Piers Grant-Ferris (1960s–1970s)

47. Fr Piers Grant-Ferris joined the teaching staff at Gilling Castle in 1966.[35]

48. In 1975, the then Abbot Basil Hume received a complaint from the parents of a pupil, RC-A152, that Fr Piers had inappropriately touched their son. The abbot, together with Fr Justin Caldwell and Fr Patrick Barry (then headmasters of Gilling Castle and Ampleforth College respectively), launched an internal investigation.

49. RC-A152 and his parents were spoken to,[36] as were eight other pupils. RC-A170 stated that Fr Piers had repeatedly fondled his genitals while he was sleeping at night in his dormitory and taken his temperature rectally.[37] Fr Piers admitted going to RC-A170’s dormitory at night but said he merely wanted to teach him how to pull back his foreskin when urinating to avoid dribbling. He denied any sexual gratification.[38] RC-A177 claimed that in 1973 he was made to lie naked across Fr Piers’ lap with his buttocks spread apart. His anus was then ‘examined’. RC-A177 also said that he saw Fr Piers abusing RC-A170.[39] The others, RC-A235, RC-A233, RC-A230, RC-A234, RC-A232 and RC-A213 said that they had never been abused by Fr Piers, nor seen him abuse others.[40]

50. The school did not accept RC-A152’s account. Nonetheless, Abbot Basil Hume did, with reluctance, recognise that because of his admission in respect of RC-A170,[41] Fr Piers was unsuited to working with children.

51. The school did not refer any of the complaints to the statutory authorities. Instead, the abbot had Fr Piers assessed by a consultant psychiatrist, Dr Seymour Spencer. Dr Spencer’s opinion was that:

As a result of [Fr Piers’] personality factors, his lack of exact judgment in terms of his intimate relations with boys and his admitted ‘use’ of boys in the past for sexual stimulation in spanking and in the recent past of RC-A152 for sexual stimulation during anal inspection, [Fr Piers] is not a suitable person to continue as master at Gilling.

Despite this clear acknowledgment of risk, Dr Spencer’s preliminary assessment was that there were enough ‘protective factors’ in place to justify allowing Fr Piers to stay in post until the end of the academic year. These included, in his view, the fact that few allegations had been made in the 10 years that he had been at Gilling and Fr Piers’ ‘natural obedience’ which would make him highly likely to comply with an instruction ‘not to touch boys during this present term’. These factors made ‘his unsuitability “wearable” during the rest of this term’. Dr Spencer also referred to the potential for ‘special talk or scandal’ if Fr Piers was removed from the school.[42]

52. Ultimately, however, Dr Spencer did agree with the abbot that the best course of action was for Fr Piers to be withdrawn from his post at once. It appears that this was less based on the current risk he posed to children and more because, as Dr Spencer told the abbot:

I feel that there is already a large amount of potential smoke round a quite definite fire of ‘hard’ evidence. I think that this smoke could increase enormously under any sparking during the course of term and produce a conflagration quite impossible to control. I think that if this did happen [Fr Piers] could himself be sorely affected. He is already at the present time willing to depart ... the argument for retaining him would be very unconvincing to pressing parents and that such pressure could increase as term went on and put you into an impossible position.[43]

53. According to a ‘safeguarding briefing document’ prepared by Abbot Cuthbert Madden for the AAT in August 2017: ‘the common view at the time … [was] that the condition of paedophilia was a curable one.’ It seems that after this first assessment on Fr Piers, Dr Spencer was subsequently regularly called upon by the abbots of Ampleforth to assess monks who had been accused of child sexual abuse. As we will see, he had earlier been used by Downside to assess Anselm Hurt in 1970.

54. Fr Piers was moved from Ampleforth and given parish assignments in Garforth (May–August 1975), St Mary’s Warrington (1975–1977) and Workington, Cumbria (1977–1989).[44] (Workington was the same parish to which Fr Gregory Carroll and RC-F29 were later sent in 1995 and 1997 respectively.) He was also sent to Leyland (1989–1993), Brindle (1993–1998) and Osmotherley (1998).

55. The parish priests were apparently made aware ‘in general terms that there might be a problem’[45] and instructed that Fr Piers be kept under supervision and ‘away from all opportunities to have dangerous contact with children’.[46] However, there is evidence that when Fr Piers was at Osmotherley he did not abide by these guidelines and arranged children’s pilgrimages to the local shrine.[47] The evidence we have seen indicates that this was not limited to his time in Osmotherley. In material disclosed to the Inquiry relating to his eventual prosecution in 2006 he said: ‘I continued to work with children in our parishes’[48] and ‘Abbot Barry put no restrictions on me when I went out to do the pastoral work in the parishes.’[49]

56. During this period, in October 1995, when Fr Piers was at Leyland parish, a further allegation of child sexual abuse relating to the 1960s was made by RC-A61, a former Gilling pupil, who will be remembered from his account of physical abuse above. RC-A61 disclosed to the diocese of Middlesbrough.[50] His evidence, summarised below, suggests Piers Grant-Ferris had been sexually abusing boys for many years before the allegation of abuse in respect of RC-A152 was made in 1975. Indeed, Piers Grant-Ferris must have begun abusing boys almost as soon as he arrived and began teaching at the college in 1966, and continued for nearly 10 years.

57. RC-A61 told us that he joined Gilling in 1965, when he was seven years old[51] and that Fr Piers Grant-Ferris arrived at school when he was in his second year,[52] which would have been 1966. Shortly after his arrival, Fr Piers Grant-Ferris began to abuse the boys.[53] This often took the form of beatings, ostensibly to punish, but which were for his own sexual gratification. It escalated to what would today amount to serious offences of assault of a child under the age of 13 by penetration, for which the maximum sentence is now life imprisonment.[54]

58. RC-A61 gave a vivid account of the abuse he suffered at the hands of Fr Piers. He said that, on one occasion, Fr Piers made him remove his clothes and beat his bare bottom with his hands. This happened in the confessional of the chapel. Another incident took place in a bathroom. RC-A61 was forced to strip naked and to place his hands and feet on each side of the bathtub, so that he was in effect over the top of the bath ‘like a crab … with [his] genitals hanging down’. Fr Piers then beat his bottom with his hands. RC-A61 told us that this event was ‘absolutely terrifying’. He explained that whenever Fr Piers administered such beatings, his hands would always linger on his bottom. It also appears that Fr Piers would masturbate during the beatings. A third instance of abuse took place in Fr Piers’ private room. Fr Piers asked RC-A61 if he had wet himself and put his hands down his trousers, into his underwear. He told him to get undressed and made him lie face down on his bed before proceeding to take his temperature rectally. RC-A61 had never had his temperature taken this way before. He begged him to stop, but Fr Piers continued.[55]

59. RC-A61 was not sexually abused by anyone else during his time at Ampleforth[56] but, as set out above. he was physically abused by RC-F4 over a sustained period of time.[57] RC-A61 also felt that another monk, RC-F10, enabled the abuse by handing over discipline to Fr Piers, despite knowing what he was capable of.[58]

60. RC-A61 disclosed the abuse to his parents at the time but they did nothing about it.[59] He told us that ‘there wasn’t any reaction’. It seems that his father took the view that ‘these things happened in boys’ schools and that we were probably exaggerating’.[60] It may be that this was because his father was of ‘the belief that the reputation of the Catholic Church was of utmost importance ... he went to church every day’.[61]

61. In 1976, while in his final year at Ampleforth College, RC-A61 attended a summer retreat with other students.[62] They discussed Fr Piers, and Fr Justin Price told them that when Fr Piers was first sent to Gilling in 1966 ‘it was known that he had a problem with boys’ bottoms’. RC-A61 told us that this came as ‘a stunning shock’ to him.[63]

62. It was not until September 1995, when he was in his 30s,[64] that RC-A61 made formal disclosure of what had happened to him. Initially he contacted Middlesbrough diocese, and a meeting was arranged. This took place in London, in a chapel, on 2 October 1995.[65] The location, which it seems was chosen by the representative from Middlesbrough, was entirely inappropriate and RC-A61 found meeting there very traumatic.[66] He asked that his details be kept secret, but his name was passed on to the abbey and he subsequently received a telephone call from Fr Justin Price. In contrast to what Fr Justin had told RC-A61 at the camp, he now said that RC-A61 was the first person that had ever suggested wrongdoing.[67] He also said that Fr Piers – who at this time was not at the abbey but had been moved to a parish[68] – was not deemed to be of any threat,[69] something that was later again repeated to him by Fr Michael Morrison.[70] Given the previous investigation into Fr Piers in the 1970s, both these statements were untrue.

63. Following RC-A61’s disclosure, Fr Piers was interviewed by Abbot Patrick Barry on 12 October 1995. He denied the allegations. Ampleforth’s view at the time was that RC-A61’s complaint was unfounded and possibly malicious. This can be seen from Abbot Barry’s report on the interview, where he wrote:

It appears to me to be entirely possible that the current complainant (who is curiously anxious to keep his name secret) is founded not on personal experience but … on ... gossip and rumour. If that is so, then the motive might well be to provide scandalous copy for a newspaper, for which payment would be made to the complainant. If at this moment the complaint had already been handed over to the police (as some guidelines seem to require) then the necessary trigger for that copy would already have been provided to the newspapers by the police, and it would be quite impossible to undo the harm which would have been done to an innocent party and to the whole of Ampleforth and all involved in it. The danger still exists and I think we must proceed with great caution.

64. Abbot Patrick Barry did however arrange for Fr Piers to be reassessed by Dr Spencer. In his report dated 30 October 1995, Dr Spencer found that ‘Piers may have been, all the time that he was at Gilling, repressing deeper homosexual tendencies towards the boys [which] came out in these slightly oblique ways of beating [them] bare’[71] and that Fr Piers was not ‘sufficiently in command of his sexuality’ to take ‘any risks’. Fr Piers had suggested to Dr Spencer that he wished to travel to Zimbabwe, but Dr Spencer advised against him being allowed to travel. Despite these findings, Dr Spencer did not recommend that he be removed from the parish, or that there should be any restrictions on his movements or ministry, saying:

Piers mentioned to me the possibility of a move to Fort Augustus. From my point of view I would not have thought there is any necessity to move him at the present time in any way. I think there is a good chance that you will not need to move him, so to speak, into outer darkness at all. It may well be able to be resolved amicably.[72]

65. In his report, Dr Spencer also revisited the allegations that had been made by RC-A152 20 years earlier in 1975, saying:

I recall well the visit to 66 Old Road of the abbot (now the cardinal) [Hume] and Fr Patrick [Barry], not in his capacity as headmaster but as confidant of the abbot, and my visit ... to see the parents (mother and stepfather it seems) and persuading them that we could handle the situation satisfactorily for them and their boy if they did not take the matter up with the civic authority.[73]

66. He concluded: ‘I would only be too happy to do anything I could to resolve the present recrudescence and, particularly, to avoid the spread out of the sphere of the ecclesiastical authorities.’ This statement is telling and shows that, when Dr Spencer wrote this second report on Fr Piers Grant-Ferris in 1995, his concern was to prevent the involvement of the statutory authorities, and to avoid any consequent scandal and damage to the institution, rather than to protect the children that it housed. It is plain that he was still holding onto outdated beliefs that matters of sexual abuse were better dealt with quietly, and that the reputations of the individual and the institution were more important than the welfare of the children.

67. RC-A61 told us that in 1998 Ampleforth agreed to pay for counselling, it being understood that this did not amount to an acceptance of liability.[74] Abbot Cuthbert Madden told us that an admission of liability might invalidate the insurance cover that exists for the benefit of survivors.[75] RC-A61 told us that he has been left deeply traumatised by his experiences at Ampleforth. To this day he suffers from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. He told us that he was still waiting for the form of treatment he wished to receive.

68. We heard evidence that shows that RC-A61’s experiences were far from isolated events. RC-A154 (see above) was also abused by Fr Piers around 1970, when he was 10 years old, after having apparently been sexually abused by RC-F1 and RC-F3, and beaten by RC-F4. He said he witnessed Fr Piers make one boy stand in front of all the others in the locker room:

He made him drop his trousers. Piers took hold of the boy’s foreskin and said: ‘This is what you have to do before you pee if you are not circumcised.’ The boy was made to stand there for a long time. Piers seemed to excessively demonstrate what he was doing.[76]

69. He also recalls Fr Piers taking his temperature rectally on several occasions. ‘I recall leaning over a bed with my bottom exposed ... He would fondle my [bare] buttocks ... cup them in his hands and squeeze them ... then would whack you with his hand which would be hard and cause pain and then would fondle you again.’[77]

70. RC-A154 has said that, in addition to the abuse by the monks, he was also later abused by an older boy who befriended him when he went up to the senior school.

71. RC-A182 (who also made comments about RC-F1’s behaviour) also described having his temperature taken this way. He told us that Fr Piers said that this was ‘the French method’[78] and that, while he was taking the temperature, Fr Piers would be massaging RC-A182’s bottom and masturbate as he did so.[79]

72. Another former pupil RC-A156 also said that when he was nine or 10 years old, Fr Piers inserted a thermometer and also his fingers into his anus, while fondling his genitals.[80] Another boy, RC-A90 told the police that one evening Fr Piers exposed himself to a group of pupils in his private room. On another occasion, he removed RC-A90’s shorts, pushed his underwear into his anus and beat his bare buttocks.[81] RC-A157,[82] RC-180,[83] RC-A1533,[84] RC-A185,[85] RC-158[86] and RC-183[87] all described similar incidents where Fr Piers would force them to strip, beat them on their bare buttocks and/or insert a thermometer into their anus, in some cases while masturbating.

73. As explained above, following the Nolan Report in 2001, Abbot Timothy Wright sought the input of Dr Elizabeth Mann, having met her at a conference. He invited her to Ampleforth to meet with members of the community and, following this, her role at Ampleforth was to:

assist the abbot in the management of Fr Piers and Fr Gregory ... to assess the young people applying to join the religious life ... to assess people who the abbot was proposing to change their role and [to provide] a kind of general psychological help for monks that he or they felt needed some psychological help.[88]

It was on Elizabeth Mann’s recommendation that Abbot Timothy Wright contacted Dr Ruth Mann and asked her to carry out a risk assessment on Fr Piers Grant-Ferris.

74. By this time, Fr Piers was acting as a parish priest in the nearby village of Osmotherley, where he had been since 1998.[89] Dr Ruth Mann met and interviewed Fr Piers, completing her assessment in October 2001.[90] She concluded that Fr Piers posed a risk to children and recommended that he be recalled from the parish and placed in a secure environment where he would have no unsupervised contact with children.[91] As discussed below, the abbot failed to follow these recommendations. As a result, the Manns reported the case to the statutory authorities in July 2003.[92]

75. On 26 January 2006, following the NYP investigation, Operation Ellipse, Fr Piers was convicted of 20 counts of indecent assault against 15 separate former Gilling Castle pupils from 1965 to 1975, including RC-A61. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment[93] and to registration on the Sex Offenders Register for a period of 10 years. He was also barred from working with children until further notice of the court.[94] While Fr Piers was in prison, Abbot Cuthbert Madden consulted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome on suitable restrictions for him on release. Having been presented with these restrictions, Fr Piers opted to petition the Holy See for a dispensation from monastic life and from the priesthood. His request was approved on 12 January 2007. On 25 January 2007, he was released from prison[95] and the abbey provided him a place to live, where he remained until his death on 8 October 2015.[96]

Fr Gregory Carroll (1970s–1980s)

76. Fr Gregory Carroll taught at Gilling Castle and at the junior house at Ampleforth College in the 1970s and 1980s.[97] During this period, he was also the warden of Redcar Farm, a facility on the south side of the Ampleforth valley used for outward-bound school activities.[98] Fr Gregory often asked young boys to help with work at Redcar Farm and abused several of them there.[99]

77. Police records show that in around 2005 at least six men (RC-A316, RC-A294, RC-A110, RC-A111, RC-A88 and RC-A112) said that Fr Gregory had sexually abused them as children at school at the junior house. Their accounts spanned from the early 1970s to the late 1980s. They variously said that when they had gone to the farm, Fr Gregory would expose himself, touch the boys’ genitals and ask them to touch him, encouraging mutual masturbation, sometimes in the presence of other boys. Such encounters also took place at the porters’ lodge, which was on school grounds. One boy, RC-A316, said that Fr Gregory invited him to take it a stage further, but that he ran away. None of these boys complained at the time of the incidents, and only three (RC-A110, RC-A111, RC-A112) made police statements.[100]

78. However, in 1987, before these disclosures, Fr Gregory told the then headmaster of the junior house, Fr Dominic Milroy, that he had had inappropriate sexual contact at Redcar with a pupil, RC-A87. He suggested it was an isolated incident and said nothing about any other pupils. Fr Milroy suspended Fr Gregory and reported him to Abbot Patrick Barry. RC-A87’s parents were notified; they told school that they wished for the incident to be dealt with internally. No records were kept of the decision to suspend Fr Gregory.[101]

79. As with Fr Piers, no disclosure was made to the statutory authorities. Instead, Abbot Barry removed Fr Gregory from school in 1987. He was sent to the parish at Workington, where Fr Piers had also been sent in 1977, and arrangements were made for him to see a consultant psychiatrist, Dr Kamlana,[102] annually. On this occasion, unlike with Fr Piers, the parish priest was made aware of what had happened at Ampleforth[103] and was told that Fr Gregory was not to work with or be left alone with children. No other restrictions were put in place within the parish.[104]

80. Dr Kamlana’s assessments consistently found that Fr Gregory posed a low level of risk. For example, in February 1995 he wrote to Abbot Barry that ‘his paedophilic fantasies have abated and his sexual fantasies are mostly adult and heterosexual … it is unlikely that he would act on his paedophilic fantasies again’.[105] In 2001, he wrote to the new abbot Timothy Wright that ‘Father Gregory Carroll is not a risk working in the parish’. One of the main reasons he gave for this was that Fr Gregory ‘no longer views relationships primarily in terms of power and has narcissistic object choice, which are considered as a risk factor in paedophiles’.[106] Fr Gregory subsequently told Dr Elizabeth Mann that he had become attracted to two altar servers aged nine or 10 and 12 or 13. Although he told her that he had not acted on his feelings, Fr Gregory admitted that if circumstances had been different he might have done.[107] It had therefore been inappropriate to send Fr Gregory to Workington, as it had been with Fr Piers Grant-Ferris before him.

81. Fr Gregory was removed from Workington in October 2002 and transferred back to Ampleforth ‘in light of [Ampleforth’s] increasing knowledge of the problems associated with the sexual abuse of children’.[108] This, however, was over a year after the Nolan Report and that ‘knowledge’ should have prompted Ampleforth to act with a greater sense of urgency. According to Dr Elizabeth Mann, Abbot Timothy Wright’s reason for returning Fr Gregory to Ampleforth was that he felt ‘the Bishop of Workington would be horrified if he knew there was a monk from Ampleforth in one of his parishes who had sex troubles with children’. Thus while the parish priest had been told, it seems that the bishop had not. Dr Mann commented that ‘in order “to cover himself” in light of the Nolan Report, Abbot Timothy had given Fr Gregory a choice between going away on a course or speaking to me on his return to Ampleforth. He chose to work with me.’ It is plain that Abbot Wright’s first concern was Ampleforth’s reputation rather than the welfare of children with whom Fr Gregory might have contact.

82. Fr Gregory was housed in Plantation House, a building located in the grounds of Ampleforth, approximately two miles south of the abbey,[109] just north of Redcar Farm, the site of many of his acts of abuse. Abbot Timothy Wright asked Dr Elizabeth Mann to carry out a risk assessment. Dr Mann requested access to the files on Fr Gregory held by the abbey to conduct a full assessment and make the appropriate recommendations but, despite Fr Gregory giving his own consent, the abbot refused. He then withdrew from his role of commissioning reports and delegated his prior, Fr George Corrie, to liaise with Dr Elizabeth Mann. The abbot also told Dr Mann that he would not sign the protocol agreement they had agreed, and that he would not release the papers concerning past incidents to her.[110] After extensive correspondence, both with the abbot and Fr George Corrie, Dr Mann referred Fr Gregory’s case to social services on 22 October 2003.

83. Dom Timothy Wright was too ill to attend the public hearings. He did not address the matter in his written statement to the Inquiry and he died in May 2018. Abbot Cuthbert Madden has however recognised that ‘it was clearly inappropriate that they [Fr Piers Grant-Ferris and Fr Gregory Carroll] were ever sent to a parish. It was quite wrong. Very very mistaken.’

84. Ampleforth failed in this regard, and in its safeguarding duty. As we shall see, during Operation Ellipse, Fr Gregory Carroll was arrested and charged with 15 counts of indecent assault and five counts of gross indecency. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on 23 September 2005. In January 2006, this sentence was reduced, on appeal, to three years’ imprisonment.[111]

85. Following his release from prison, he lived first at Ampleforth Abbey until September 2012, with the approval of the local multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) board. Then the Department for Education (DfE) informed Abbot Cuthbert Madden that the arrangement was incompatible with national boarding standards.[112] In the light of this, Abbot Cuthbert Madden decided that Fr Gregory had to leave Ampleforth and he was sent to Pluscarden Abbey, a strictly contemplative community with no external mission. The entire Pluscarden community was made aware of his history and offending, and he was also bound by a disciplinary decree and a Covenant of Care. In June 2013, however, Fr Gregory developed a fixation towards a young novice and propositioned him on two separate occasions, in breach of his Covenant of Care.[113] As a result, Fr Gregory infringed the conditions and Abbot Cuthbert Madden gave him a formal warning. He infringed again and his case was referred to the CDF for dismissal action. He was immediately removed from the community and placed in a MAPPA-approved safe house in York, where he lived until his dismissal from Ampleforth was processed. He subsequently petitioned for a dispensation and was laicised in 2013.[114]

RC-F8 (late 1970s–1980s)

86. RC-F8 was a monk who taught at Ampleforth College during the 1970s and 1980s.

87. RC-A215 attended Ampleforth College from 1978 to 1986. He started in the junior house, at the age of 10. RC-A215 has said that there was a ‘culture of violence’ at the school and that he was physically abused by members of staff, including RC-F8, in his first term. He has described one incident, in or around 1978–1981, when RC-F8 made him remove his underwear and bend over a bed, with his buttocks exposed. RC-F8 then stood and looked at RC-A215 for some time, before beating his bare bottom. RC-A215 believes that this was done for sexual gratification and that other boys may have suffered the same treatment.[115] He reported the matter to the police in 2004 or 2005, including his belief that the physical assault may have been sexually motivated. Another ex-pupil reported to the police that he would often see RC-F8 with an erection during swimming lessons.[116]

88. In February 2006, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) advised NYP that while RC-F8 appeared to have exhibited ‘inappropriate behaviour’, there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.[117] By that stage, RC-F8 had left Ampleforth and as with Fr Piers and Fr Gregory before him, he was moved to the parish of Workington.[118] In a meeting held towards the end of Operation Ellipse, in April 2006, Abbot Cuthbert Madden told police that RC-F8 worked at a small parish on his own at weekends and resided with a group of monks during the week. DSU Honeysett’s view at the time was that unless the school was aware of any other allegations in his case, there was insufficient material to indicate that he presented a risk to children.[119]

89. The police took the view that this was a case of excessive corporal punishment only. As a result, no further action was taken and RC-F8 was neither arrested nor interviewed.[120] In our view such further inquiries would have been the logical step to take and would have been appropriate. Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Lisa Winward of the NYP agreed that it would have been proportionate to arrest and interview RC-F8 at the time of the first complaint in 2006.[121]

90. In January 2015, David Lowe, a former music teacher at Ampleforth College, stood trial and was convicted of multiple counts of indecent assault against pupils in the 1980s (see further below). In the wake of the publicity of his trial, RC-A215 contacted the NYP and repeated his original complaint against RC-F8.[122] A multi-agency meeting was held on 31 July 2015, with the NYP, the Ampleforth safeguarding coordinator and the local authority designated officer (LADO). It was decided that RC-F8 should be removed from the parish, where it had been confirmed that he had access to children. He returned to Ampleforth Abbey in August 2015 pending the completion of the police investigation. A disciplinary decree was put in place during this period, to ensure that he had no unsupervised contact with children.[123]

91. RC-F8 voluntarily attended a police interview. He admitted corporal punishment but denied gaining any sexual gratification from it. No assault charges could be brought as by that stage they were time-barred.[124]

92. In September 2015, RC-F8 was permitted to return to his parish, after completing a one-day safeguarding course. This decision was supported by the archdiocese of Liverpool and the diocese of Lancaster.[125]

David Lowe (1978–1982)

93. David Lowe was a lay music teacher who taught at Westminster Cathedral Choir School from 1977 to 1981, before moving to Ampleforth at short notice in 1981. It is now known that Lowe sexually abused at least three boys at Westminster Cathedral Choir School,[126] but the reason for the move is not clear. There is a note from Fr Dominic Milroy, dated 22 July 1981, in which Fr Dominic Milroy says that he has ‘spoken on the telephone at length with Peter Hannigan who employed David Lowe at Westminster’. The suggestion was that Lowe was having some personal problems when he was offered the job at Ampleforth, but there is no indication of concerns about his behaviour, or of allegations of child sexual abuse having been discussed.[127] The process by which he was appointed was very quick, as Ampleforth needed to find a replacement for his predecessor who had left at short notice, which Fr Dominic Milroy has described as being ‘slightly unsatisfactory’.[128]

94. After moving to Ampleforth, David Lowe went on to abuse at least four children between 1981 and 1984.[129]

95. RC-A207 was a pupil at Ampleforth between 1979 and 1988. He joined the school when he was 10 years old. David Lowe touched him in a sexual manner on three occasions between 1981 and 1984. On one of these he was feeling unwell and on a pretext of helping, Lowe began to massage his back and then slid his hands into his pyjamas[130] and touched his buttocks.[131] RC-A208 was at Ampleforth between 1980 and 1982. He told police that when he was aged 10 or 11, Lowe put him over his lap and cupping his genitals ‘under the pretext of inspecting his bottom’. RC-A209 was nine years old when he started school at Ampleforth in 1982. At some point between 1982 and 1984 Lowe kept him behind after class, to be punished. Lowe told him to remove all his lower clothing and struck him on his bare bottom with a shoe. RC-A210 was another pupil from 1981 and 1989 and was taught piano by Lowe from 1981 to 1982. He has recalled how Lowe would put him on his knee while he was playing and, on multiple occasions, would place his hands on his crotch area.[132]

96. There is no record of Lowe’s victims coming forward at the time, nor is there any suggestion that the school was aware of the abuse. The allegations first came to light during Operation Ellipse after NYP contacted former Ampleforth pupils.[133] RC-A207 spoke to an officer by telephone in December 2004. The report of that conversation outlines several indecent assaults, or attempted indecent assaults, against him by David Lowe on and off school premises. These occurred around 1981 when RC-A207 was aged 10 or 11 years old. The off-site incident was said to have taken place at Lowe’s home. The report also details that Lowe left the school abruptly, amidst rumours of him touching another pupil inappropriately. Two further reports dated February 2005 record allegations of indecent assault by Lowe against RC-A111 and RC-A209.[134]

97. NYP conducted enquiries with Ampleforth to trace Lowe. However there is no record in the Operation Ellipse documents to show that any complainant statements were taken. No further investigation into these allegations was conducted by Operation Ellipse, despite a clear account of criminal conduct being disclosed in respect of RC-A207.[135] The NYP did, however, seek advice from the CPS on the basis of the information they had from RC-A207. In 2006, the CPS advised that while Lowe’s behaviour towards RC-A207 was ‘probably an assault’, it was ‘minor in nature’. The CPS concluded that it was not in the public interest to ‘resurrect it at this stage’.[136]

98. In 2012, the Metropolitan Police Service in London received a complaint of historical child sexual abuse at Westminster Catholic Choir School. Police enquiries then revealed that David Lowe had abused students there between 1978 and 1981 before going on to teach at Ampleforth. The police investigation also identified the four Ampleforth victims.[137] In November 2014,[138] Lowe was charged with 15 counts of indecent assault on boys under 14 years, relating to his abuse of pupils both at Ampleforth and Westminster.[139] He pleaded not guilty but in February 2015 he was convicted by a jury on all counts and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.[140]

99. In her evidence to us on behalf of the North Yorkshire Police, DCC Winward accepted these failings, and has agreed that the NYP should have taken statements, should have located and interviewed Lowe, and should have dealt with the complaint at the time it was made.[141]

100. There were numerous failings in the NYP’s handling of this case. While David Lowe did not go on to teach after Ampleforth, he should have faced prosecution some 10 years earlier than he did.[142] The NYP should have made greater efforts to locate and interview Lowe, to follow up complainants and to take formal statements from them. Delays such as these inevitably make the process of gathering accounts and evidence of past allegations much more difficult.

RC-F40 (1980s–1990s)

101. RC-F40 was a lay teacher at Ampleforth College during the summer term of 1989.[143]

102. In 1998 or 1999, the father of a pupil, RC-A60, threatened Ampleforth with legal action for allegedly failing to protect RC-A60 from bullying. Fr Chamberlain told us that the school had ‘looked carefully’ into the bullying allegations but ultimately concluded ‘in the end they were without merit’. No complaint of sexual abuse was raised at that time.[144] In 2008, RC-A60’s father again complained to school on his son’s behalf and said that RC-F40 had repeatedly raped RC-A60 in 1989.

103. The allegation of rape made in 2008 was referred to the police by the school. Although attempts were made by NYP through Interpol to trace RC-F40, believed to be living in Kuwait at the time,[145] the police’s view was that they could take no further action without a formal complaint being made by RC-A60 himself. It appears that no such complaint was made.

104. RC-A60 committed suicide in July 2013. In August 2013, his father renewed his complaint, saying that Ampleforth had failed in its duty of care towards his son and that the headmaster at the time, Fr Dominic Milroy, and his son’s housemaster had been aware of RC-F40’s abusive behaviour.[146]

105. On 6 September 2013, Mick Walker, safeguarding coordinator for AAT and Middlesbrough diocese, attended a meeting convened by the LADO at which it was decided that the police should further investigate the claims.[147]

106. Allegations of indecent assault dating back to 1989 were subsequently made by three former pupils, all of whom had been 11 or 12 years old at the time. RC-A296 told police that RC-F40 took him to a private area and smacked him on his bare buttocks while either touching or cupping his penis. Another boy, RC-A297 said that he had been punished by RC-F40 by being made to go on a cross-country run. RC-F40 had accompanied him and told him to perform sit-ups. When he refused, RC-F40 is said to have laid on top of him and held him down while pressing his face close to his. RC–A199, while not himself abused, told police that on one occasion in school infirmary he had seen RC-F40 go to the bed of RC-A212 where he was lying asleep at the time. He said that he saw RC-F40 stroke RC-A212 and kiss him on the head.[148]

107. RC-F40 was arrested at Heathrow Airport in December 2014,[149] and the CPS authorised four charges of indecent assault covering the conduct complained of by RC-A296, RC-A297 and RC–A199. RC-F40 pleaded not guilty to all counts and was tried at York Crown Court in September 2015. Two counts were abandoned by the prosecution at the start of the trial and RC-F40 was acquitted of the remaining two.[150] As indicated above, RC-A60 had never himself made a formal complaint, and by this time had committed suicide, so the rape allegation was never prosecuted.

RC-F27 (1980–1987)

108. RC-F27 is a monk who taught at Ampleforth College between 1965 and 1980. He continued to hold a role in school that would bring him into contact with pupils until 2002.

109. Two pupils, RC-A223 and RC-A99, have alleged that RC-F27 groomed them to enter into sexual relationships with them when they were older.[151] There are also accounts of inappropriate sexual behaviour by RC-F27 towards adults.

110. RC-A223 attended Ampleforth College between 1980 and 1985, and met RC-F27 because of his role at the school. RC-A223 has said that there was a lot of ‘emotional contact’ between himself and RC-F27,[152] who seems to have been a valued confidant during RC-A223’s adolescence. There is evidence of intensive correspondence between the two,[153] including of a sexual nature.[154] RC-A223 has also said that on one occasion RC-F27 put his hands inside his underwear.[155]

111. After leaving Ampleforth in 1985, RC-A223 went on holiday with RC-F27 twice, in 1986 and 1989.[156] He shared a bed with RC-F27 on one of these trips. During another encounter, RC-F27 beat RC-A223 across the buttocks with a cane.[157] In 1987, RC-A223 returned to the abbey as a guest, and the two engaged in mutual masturbation.[158]

112. In 1995, RC-A223 started having psychotherapy. His correspondence with RC-F27 was reviewed by his therapist who suggested that he should contact Abbot Patrick Barry, which he did. It seems that RC-A223 subsequently met with Abbot Barry in 1997, however Mick Walker, Ampleforth’s safeguarding coordinator, has said that he has found no records of this meeting.[159] From the evidence we have seen, it appears that no action was taken by Ampleforth at the time.

113. In 2001, RC-A223 renewed his complaint, to Abbot Wright. Abbot Wright asked RC-F27 to undergo a risk assessment.[160] RC-F27 initially refused[161] but Abbot Wright insisted, and the assessment was conducted by Alice Newman of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF) in 2002. During the assessment, RC-F27 admitted to the sexual relationship with RC-A223. He also described another encounter, which followed a similar pattern, with a 14-year-old pupil. RC-F27 told Ms Newman that the two had developed a ‘friendship’. In 1993, a year after the young man left Ampleforth, RC-F27 invited him on a trip to France. RC-F27 said:

We slept together in the course of the fortnight. I had the feeling I needed to be close to someone. This occurred on three nights. Twice at my request and once … he asked me to come into his bed. This was the most satisfying to me – there was no masturbating.

While it appears that there was no penetration on that occasion, Ms Newman’s view was that:

RC-F27 sought to meet his need for affection, intimacy and being in control by sexualising some of his relationships with his pupils. By his own account, he would foster relationships with certain boys at school, would begin to introduce a sexual agenda in the course of his conversations with them there, and, in some cases, would then act out upon his sexual activities when the boys had left school, if he was able to create an opportunity to do so. It appears that he ‘targeted’ boys who were particularly vulnerable for one reason or another ...[162]

114. Ms Newman recommended that RC-F27 undergo psychotherapy[163] and concluded that he represented ‘an ongoing risk of sexual abuse to adolescent males with whom he can form a relationship’. Because RC-F27 no longer had any involvement with school at that stage (as he was working in the monastery), she decided that it was unlikely that he would have the opportunity ‘to foster and sexualise relationships with young people’ and she recommended against his performing ‘pastoral duties amongst the young, such as religious instructions and hearing confessions, as well as ongoing contacts with families who have male children’. She concluded that RC-F27’s ‘risk’ seemed to be towards particularly vulnerable young men and said that he should not be placed in a position where he is expected to advise and support prospective or actual novices.[164]

115. During an August 2003 meeting between the Ampleforth Abbey trustees and the statutory authorities, RC-A223’s case was discussed. RC-F27 had denied the allegations, but the prevailing view was that he may well have groomed students and that he posed an ongoing risk to adolescent males. However, it was found that ‘his opportunity for inappropriate conduct is greatly diminished’ on the basis that he was no longer involved with school or with novices and had been barred from undertaking parish work.[165] That same year, RC-F27 was referred to a psychotherapy centre in York,[166] in accordance with Ms Newman’s recommendation.

116. RC-F27 was allowed to remain in the abbey. We have been told that he was monitored at all times and not permitted to go anywhere near school or to have any contact with people under the age of 19,[167] and that the community and school were made aware of the position.[168] Parents were not informed.[169]

117. RC-F27 was eventually given work in the abbey shop. As will be seen below, this decision was heavily criticised by Dr Elizabeth Mann in April 2003.[170]

118. RC-A223’s account was subsequently investigated by NYP as part of Operation Ellipse. However, he did not wish to engage with the authorities and police did not pursue a prosecution. The matter was investigated by police again in 2012 after RC-A223 renewed his complaint. This time they took the view that there was insufficient evidence to proceed. During this time RC-F27 remained living at Ampleforth.

119. In 2013, for the first time, RC-F27 admitted to Abbot Cuthbert Madden that he had indeed been in a sexual relationship with RC-A223.[171] The abbot notified the police and social services and in June 2013 the safeguarding commission became involved in managing RC-F27 and drew up a Covenant of Care and Disciplinary Decree.[172] On 15 June 2013, Abbot Madden wrote to the Bishop of Middlesbrough and requested that RC-F27’s faculties concerning preaching, hearing confessions and celebrating sacraments within the diocese of Middlesbrough be revoked. The revocation was approved by the bishop on 21 June 2013.[173]

120. In June 2014, RC-F27 sought to appeal his Covenant of Care. The Holy See however not only determined that the conditions were appropriate, but that if RC-F27 failed to adhere to them he should be dismissed from monastic life.[174]

121. In November 2014, another victim came forward. RC-A99 claimed that RC-F27 had attempted to groom him and had, on one occasion, hugged him in such a manner that he could feel his erect penis. The allegations were made to RC-F91 (see below) and to Mick Walker, who referred them to the statutory authorities. In 2015, NYP indicated that no further action would be taken as there was insufficient evidence to proceed. The abbey agreed to fund a course of counselling for RC-A99 but without any admissions as to liability being made.[175]

122. A further risk assessment was commissioned by Abbot Madden, in late 2015. RC-F27 admitted having sexual relationships with four former pupils, including RC-A223, who at the time were aged between 18 and 20 years. The assessment found that he continued to pose a risk and that the restrictions should be maintained.[176]

123. RC-F27 still resides at Ampleforth. Abbot Cuthbert Madden told us that, although he considers RC-F27 to be an ongoing risk,[177] both Ampleforth and the statutory authorities share the view that it is better for RC-F27 to be in the abbey, where he can be monitored.[178] RC-F27’s case was referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service in 2016 and he may ultimately be removed from Ampleforth, depending on their findings.[179]

RC-F16 (1989–1991)

124. RC-F16 was a monk who joined Ampleforth as a teacher in 1978. He was removed from post in 2002, when information was received that he had groomed RC-A96, a pupil in the mid-1980s.[180] It was said that the two of them swam together naked on one occasion and showered together on two occasions. It was also said that they would, on occasion, share a bed. RC-F16 is also said to have fondled RC-A96’s genitals. On an occasion in 1991, after RC-A96 had turned 18, he invited RC-F16 to stay at his family home while his parents were away, the two had engaged in mutual oral sex.

125. The allegation came from a third party in 2002,[181] and so further details of the account and the way school handled it post-Nolan are set out below. In summary, in April 2002, RC-F16 was suspended from his post at school.[182] He was assessed by Joe Sullivan of the LFF. The LFF is a UK-wide specialist child protection charity founded in 1992. It provides a broad range of services connected to the prevention of child sexual abuse and the protection of victims. These include undertaking expert clinical assessments of known or suspected perpetrators of child sexual abuse, providing treatment and care for victims of abuse and their families, and training for professionals, school governors and parents on issues related to sexual offences against minors. The foundation’s staff includes former probation and police officers, health workers and psychologists.[183] Sullivan recorded in his report that RC-F16 had admitted to acting in a sexually inappropriate manner towards RC-A96 while he was a pupil, and to the sexual encounters after RC-A96 had left school.[184] The assessment report concluded that RC-F16’s continued work as a teacher was untenable.[185]

126. RC-F16 was placed on List 99 (now the Barred Children’s and Barred Adults’ Lists) in February 2003 by the Department for Education. That same year he was suspended from the priesthood by Abbot Wright and removed from the abbey for three years. RC-F16 did not return to Ampleforth at the end of the three-year period and in 2013 was permanently dismissed from monastic life.[186]

RC-F18 (1990s)

127. RC-F18 was a monk who taught at Ampleforth College from 1987 until 1993, and then at the newly formed Ampleforth College Junior School where he held a significant post, remaining there until 2000. He was appointed to work in the abbey shop, becoming co-manager in 2003.[187]

128. On 14 January 2004, a solicitor acting on behalf of RC-A123, a former Ampleforth pupil, contacted NYP and said that RC-A123 had been sexually abused by RC-F18 over a three-year period,[188] between 1990 and 1993. RC-A123 said that the abuse had started within his first week at the junior house one night when he was in bed. RC-F18 would come into the dormitory and tickle him under his bedclothes, leading up to touching his genitals both over and under his pyjamas. RC-F18 would suck on RC-A123’s index finger when abusing him in this way. On other occasions, RC-F18 gave him alcohol and anally raped him. He was also sent on ‘punishment’ runs at night to the T-junction outside the Ampleforth grounds. He would be punished if RC-F18 arrived at the junction before him in his car. The punishment consisted of being anally raped while bent over the bonnet of the car. RC-A123 referred to five or six other boys being called to RC-F18’s office, given alcohol and forced to kneel and administer oral sex to him in turn. The final allegation made by RC-A123 was that, when he was in year 3, RC-F18 inserted what he believes to have been cutlery into his anus.[189]

129. At the time these allegations were made in 2004, RC-F18 was still a senior member of the Ampleforth community.[190] He was arrested in February 2004 for several offences including buggery, indecent assault and incitement to commit gross indecency offences. His computer was also seized and searched as part of the police enquiry; pornographic material was found, as well as evidence that he had posed as a 19-year-old girl in order to engage in sexually explicit online chats with males.[191] DSU Honeysett told us that while this material ‘clearly indicated an interest in adolescent boys, there was no evidence to show that those boys were [in fact] under age’.[192]

130. RC-F18 was interviewed multiple times but denied all allegations of abusing any children.[193] In June 2004, the CPS reviewed the file and advised that there was no realistic prospect of conviction.[194] This decision is addressed in more detail later.

131. Abbot Wright subsequently asked Dr Stuart Carney, a clinical lecturer in psychiatry at Oxford University whose specialist field was general adult psychiatry, to conduct a risk assessment of RC-F18.[195] He found that RC-F18 did not pose a significant sexual risk to children.[196] RC-F18 agreed to remove himself from any direct involvement with school but did remain involved in the abbey and the abbey shop, where Fr Piers and RC-F27 also worked.

132. Although no charges were ultimately brought, the police indicated that they had ‘serious concerns’ about RC-F18’s suitability to work with children.[197] This was because during their investigation several other pupils who had boarded at Junior House at the same time as RC-A123 had made allegations, albeit of less serious misconduct. In particular, it was alleged that RC-F18 had encouraged the use of alcohol and given alcohol to boys aged as young as 10 to 13 at late night meetings, had showered naked with students and knowingly permitted boys to masturbate in his presence.[198]

133. In 2005, risk management measures were agreed with North Yorkshire Police. While he was allowed to work in the Ampleforth Abbey shop, restrictions included that RC-F18 should not have any further role with the school, that his association with children be minimal, and that he should not take confession from any person under 18.[199]

134. Two risk assessments were subsequently completed. In April 2005, Dr Carney found that there was ‘little … evidence to suggest that RC-F18 presents a significant sexual risk to minors’.[200] In July 2007, he was reassessed by Dr Judith Earnshaw of the LFF after a referral was made by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. In her report dated December 2007, Dr Earnshaw concluded that the allegations of sexual abuse from RC-A123 were likely unfounded,[201] but that there were sufficient concerns about RC-F18’s conduct to render it inappropriate for him to carry on working with young people.[202]

135. The events that followed are set out in more detail below, but in summary, in September 2009, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families made an order under section 142 Children’s Act 2002 disqualifying RC-F18 from working with children and young people.[203] In June 2010, RC-F18 was placed on the Independent Schools Authority (ISA) Children’s Barred List, and in February 2012, a criminal records board check arising out of RC-F18’s employment in the abbey shop led to a review of his position at Ampleforth.[204] In September 2012 the DfE raised concerns about RC-F18’s continued presence on Ampleforth grounds.[205] RC-F18 was moved from Ampleforth to a strictly contemplative monastery with no external ministry. The receiving abbey was made aware of the allegations against him. In 2013, RC-F18 was moved to York to ‘supervise’ Fr Gregory Carroll. This was done at the instigation of Ampleforth’s safeguarding coordinator, Mick Walker, and had the approval of MAPPA.

136. After Fr Gregory Carroll was laicised, RC-F18 was sent to another abbey, a contemplative community of Benedictine nuns with no external apostolate.[206] He was placed under a Covenant of Care.[207] In 2014, Dom Richard Yeo, who was then abbot president of the EBC, and the archdiocese of Birmingham safeguarding commission agreed that RC-F18 could take up an appointment as assistant chaplain at the abbey.[208]

137. Dom Richard Yeo told us that he had some involvement in RC-F18’s placement there and that, although the abbess knew that RC-F18 had been investigated, he had not told her the reasons for his move. This is dealt with more fully below.

138. RC-F18 currently works as an assistant chaplain at an abbey,[209] and he regularly teaches at another abbey.[210] He remains subject to the safeguarding plan (formerly known as a Covenant of Care), which was first imposed in 2012 and of which there have been no reported breaches. He remains on the Disclosure and Barring Service barred list.[211]

Fr Bernard Green (1995)

139. Fr Bernard taught at Ampleforth College between 1981 and 1995.[212] On the evening of 25 November 1995, Fr Bernard went into the dormitory where a pupil, RC-A97, was sleeping and fondled his genitals.[213] RC-A97, who was around 13 years old at the time, disclosed this to another pupil and together they went to Fr Cuthbert Madden, who was then a tutor, for advice. He told the boys that the matter:

absolutely ... had to come to the headmaster within the next 24 hours … there was a potential to do that in a number of different ways: RC-A97 could go and see the headmaster; [the head of house] could go and see the headmaster; Fr Bernard could go and see the headmaster; or I could go and see the headmaster. But somehow or other, that matter had to come to the headmaster.

Fr Bernard eventually approached Fr Leo Chamberlain, who at the time was headmaster, and told him what had happened.[214]

140. The school removed Fr Bernard from his post[215] and notified the police of the sexual assault on 28 November 1995.[216] He was arrested the next day.[217] The case officer at the time was Detective Sergeant (DS) Nicholas Hartnett, now retired. He told us:

Although Fr Chamberlain appeared to be cooperating and assisting the investigation … I felt that he wanted the investigation dealt with swiftly and on his terms. Once I explained what the investigation would entail, I felt Fr Chamberlain changed and he was trying to exert his authority over me, for example he mentioned that he was on good terms with the then Chief Constable.[218]

DS Hartnett went on to say that Fr Leo Chamberlain was adamant that pupils would not be spoken to by police without a member of staff from Ampleforth being present, and he told us that ‘again I felt he was trying to exert control over my investigation’.[219]

141. Fr Bernard Green was interviewed on 29 November 1995 and admitted what he had done.[220] RC-A97 was due to be interviewed the next day,[221] but then Fr Leo telephoned the police and told them that he had taken it upon himself to contact the boy’s father, who was now saying that he did not want his son spoken to by police.[222] DS Hartnett went to Ampleforth the next day to find out why there had been a change of mind. At DS Hartnett’s instigation, Fr Leo telephoned RC-A97’s father from his office but asked the officer to step outside while he spoke to him first. When DS Hartnett was invited back to speak to him, the boy’s father reiterated his decision.[223]

142. DS Hartnett persevered and submitted the case to the CPS without a complainant’s statement, which was rare in those days.[224] Both Fr Leo and RC-A97’s father wrote to the CPS suggesting that Fr Bernard should not be prosecuted. Nonetheless, the CPS agreed with DS Hartnett and charges were brought. In February 1996, Fr Bernard pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault on a child under the age of 14 (RC-A97). He was sentenced to two years’ probation, with 50 hours of community service, mandatory attendance at a sex offenders treatment programme and a five-year registration on the Sex Offenders Register.[225]

143. In July 1996, Fr Bernard was banned from undertaking teaching or related work by the DfE. This included work in independent schools and further education institutions, as well as any work with children or young persons under the age of 19.[226] In addition, his faculty to preach and hear confessions was withdrawn by the Bishop of Middlesbrough.[227]

144. Between August 1996 and February 1997, Fr Bernard attended a rehabilitation course for sexually offending priests at Our Lady Victory, in Brownshill. He was assessed as posing a very low risk of reoffending and found not to be a paedophile or hebephile (a homosexual paedophile).[228] In April 1997, Abbot Wright arranged for Fr Bernard to move to the parish of Our Lady Mount Grace (a chapel in Osmotherley, a village in the Middlesbrough diocese)[229] and to receive regular counselling.[230] We note that this is the same parish to which Fr Piers Grant-Ferris was sent in 2002 and RC-F95 in 2006. Although there is correspondence between Abbot Wright and the Bishop of Middlesbrough, which makes it clear that Fr Bernard would not be undertaking any pastoral duties, we have not seen anything that expressly sets out what restrictions were put into place. We do not know what, if anything, was said to the superior, but it seems they may have been told very little as in correspondence to the Bishop of Middlesbrough, Abbot Wright says: ‘If anyone asks why there is an extra monk at Osmotherley, the answer is simple: he is there to support the community.’[231]

145. In March 1998, Fr Bernard’s priestly faculties, which had been revoked in July 1996, were reinstated by the Bishop of Middlesbrough. The bishop made clear however that Fr Bernard was to remain excluded from unsupervised ministry with young people.[232]

146. In October 1998, Fr Bernard moved to St Benet’s Hall, a permanent private hall of the University of Oxford, as he was to begin to study for a doctor of philosophy. In 2000, Fr Bernard began teaching at Oxford.[233] That teaching was in breach of the restriction that had been imposed by the DfE in 1996 as it would have brought him into contact with students below the age of 19, though it was only some time later that Ampleforth came to realise this.[234] In June 2005, a 19-year-old undergraduate claimed that Fr Bernard had harassed him. A disciplinary panel convened by the university found that he was guilty of serious misconduct. He was issued a five-year final written warning.[235]

147. On 25 April 2010, Abbot Cuthbert Madden asked Fr Francis Davidson, then safeguarding coordinator for the abbey, to investigate a fresh complaint against Fr Bernard involving sexual misconduct towards two adult males. The abbey’s investigation was inconclusive. In June 2012, Fr Bernard was dismissed from all roles at St Benet’s Hall following a review of his case which revealed that he had been barred from teaching under 19s by the DfE since 1996. He died 23 March 2013. After his death, an examination of his computer by university authorities found that, contrary to the views of the earlier psychiatric report, he had downloaded indecent images of children.[236]

Accounts of child sexual abuse after the Nolan Report (2001–2010)

RC-F91 (2001–2004)

148. Girls were first admitted into the sixth form at Ampleforth College and into SMA in September 2001. We have heard that RC-F91, a monk and senior member of staff, who at the time had safeguarding responsibilities, may have had inappropriate physical contact with several female pupils at SMA between 2001 and 2004. Records are scant, but it seems that in 2002 and 2004 a number of students and pupils reported RC-F91’s behaviour, which was brought to the attention of the then headmaster of SMA, Stephen Mullen. This was said to include RC-F91 holding pupils’ hands, putting his arms around them and allowing them to sit on his knee. One pupil reported that on one occasion, RC-F91 accosted her and pinned her up against a wall. This behaviour is alleged to have taken place on school grounds.[237]

149. In 2004, Stephen Mullen wrote to RC-F91 advising him to ‘reflect upon these observations and if necessary review your relationships with certain pupils’.[238] No formal complaint was made and no further action was taken by the school at that stage.

150. In October 2005, social services opened an investigation into RC-F91 following a complaint from a parent. Although they concluded that no further action should be taken, they did say that ‘in this case the record-keeping fell short of the standard one would reasonably expect’.[239] In January 2006, the police started their own investigation as part of Operation Ellipse. Three strategy meetings were held between Ampleforth and the statutory authorities between January and May 2006. After the second meeting, in February 2006, RC-F91 was suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation. The investigation concluded on 16 May 2006 and the CPS advised that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.[240]

151. Thereafter, the school conducted a paper review to determine whether a full internal investigation was justified, finally concluding that it was not. This was because RC-F91’s behaviour was deemed inappropriate rather than indecent or sexual in nature, and because after Stephen Mullen raised his concerns directly with him, no further allegations had been made.[241]

152. RC-F91 was reinstated. It was agreed that he would undergo a risk assessment and be subject to a Covenant of Care, to be reviewed after six months.[242] The risk assessment found that RC-F91 did not pose a risk to children but recommended that lines of reporting and staff training be improved, and that child protection policies be reviewed on an annual basis.[243]

RC-F95 (2006)

153. RC-F95 was a monk who taught at Ampleforth between 1998 and 2002.

154. In November 2001, RC-F95 was referred to Dr Elizabeth Mann by Abbot Wright for his addiction to pornography, which he viewed online.[244] It appears that his preference was for sites depicting ‘fresh-faced’ young men aged 18–24.[245] Dr Mann assessed RC-F95 and in her report to Abbot Wright, dated 26 June 2002, she wrote that his growing addiction to pornography had:

caused RC-F95 great distress and developed to such a level that he is a risk to himself and potentially to vulnerable others in school. He is out of control of his sexuality, psychologically not free to choose a celibate life and insufficiently emotionally mature to take on the responsibilities of the ordained life in terms of assured pastoral boundaries.

She noted further that the ‘seriousness of the problem’ was underlined by three risk factors, namely RC-F95’s ‘history of social isolation’, his ‘addiction to pornographic material with progressively slipping boundaries’ and his ‘emotional investment seemingly exclusively in interaction with the boys in school’. She concluded that ‘if his boundaries slipped further he would become a significant risk to himself and in school’ and recommended that RC-F95 urgently seek appropriate professional help.

155. In light of Dr Mann’s report, Abbot Wright arranged for RC-F95 to attend the Our Lady of Victory community at Brownshill, Stroud, in July 2002. Our Lady of Victory is a therapeutic community for the treatment of priests and religious who have problems with addictions, including sexual addiction.[246] RC-F95 was assessed by Dr Royston Williams, who found that although there was no suggestion that RC-F95 had sexually abused any pupil, because the pornography viewed involved young men it was not suitable for him to remain in school. Dr Williams stated the view that: ‘If the situation is allowed to continue as it is at the moment, I believe it will inevitably end in tragedy.’[247]

156. RC-F95 agreed to enter the residential treatment programme at Brownshill for approximately seven months, from July 2002 to March 2003. During this time, he was also seen by Dr Elizabeth Mann. This appears to have been because there was no programme available at Brownshill at the time which specifically addressed the risk of sexual abuse to minors. In a report dated March 2003, Dr Mann strongly recommended that RC-F95 remain in therapy for at least two years following completion of the Brownshill programme and that he not be left in unsupervised charge of children or young men.[248]

157. It was agreed with Brownshill and the abbot that Dr Mann would be responsible for arranging RC-F95’s after-care. She recommended that he be treated by a clinical psychologist who could evaluate and treat his addiction and any risk of sexual abuse. The evidence of Dr Mann is that three local clinical psychologists were approached but refused to take on the case ‘as they felt the responsibility was too great’. Abbot Wright arranged for him to be seen by a psychologist employed at the time by the abbey.[249] He was later sent on a 10-month religious formation training course in Dublin, Ireland.[250] According to Dr Mann, this course would not have addressed the question of risk.[251]

158. RC-F95 returned to Ampleforth Abbey in June 2004 and was ordained into the priesthood in 2005.[252]

159. On 5 May 2006, NYP were contacted by the school. They reported that an audit of their computer systems had revealed that RC-F95 had attempted to access sites restricted by Ampleforth’s firewall. A strategy meeting was held that same day and RC-F95 was suspended from his teaching post. His computer was seized by NYP. Forensic examinations were conducted which showed that RC-F95 had ‘attempted to access adult homosexual sites, but not those involving children’. There was no evidence that RC-F95 had committed a criminal offence. The investigation was therefore closed by police.[253]

160. Following this incident, a further risk assessment was commissioned, which found that RC-F95 posed a significant risk.[254] His employment at the school was terminated in 2007.[255] The statutory authorities were informed of this decision and, in an email to Fr Francis Davidson dated 28 June 2007, David Molesworth of North Yorkshire social services acknowledged that ‘this underlines the commitment to good child protection procedures and practice that has been established at Ampleforth over recent years, and the willingness to take questions outside the community’.[256]

Dara De Cogan (2007–2010)

161. Dara De Cogan was a lay music teacher at Ampleforth between 2003 and 2016. For five years between 2005 and 2010 he groomed and sexually abused a female pupil, RC-A30. The sexual abuse began in 2007, when RC-A30 was 16 years old, and went on for three years. She did not report it until April 2016, after she had had counselling.[257]

162. RC-A30 gave evidence to this Inquiry. She joined Ampleforth College as a boarder in 2005. She told us that she initially felt out of place and found it difficult to fit in,[258] and that De Cogan took an interest in her ‘very, very early on’, in 2005,[259] when she was still only about 13 years old. She said that the attention he gave her made her feel special,[260] and in the absence of friends De Cogan became her confidant, and that she would discuss her personal life with him during their one-to-one lessons.[261] She described how he groomed her, giving her a beer to drink at a party when she was 14,[262] becoming increasingly tactile and tickling her.[263] He would also snap her bra strap, something he did in front of other members of staff and students.[264] She recalled:

He seemed to like the idea, I think, that he could do it publicly and nobody was saying anything. People clearly noticed, because they might smile … or give you the odd look, but nobody actually said anything. So that was something he did quite frequently in front of staff and he would compliment me on my looks in front of other staff as well ... . He would act as if the whole thing were a big joke. He would always have this kind of quite creepy but very fixed smile on his face, like it was a joke I somehow wasn’t getting. I felt very awkward and uncomfortable, and also humiliated sometimes as well …[265]

... no one said anything, they clearly saw what was going on, it gave him more power. He obviously liked it and he grew in confidence in that area. He could get away with a lot more in public because – well, because he was getting away with more in public. Nobody was doing anything.[266]

163. In December 2007, De Cogan began to call RC-A30 a flirt, and then ask if she thought about him, and whether she had fantasies about him. On one occasion during a private lesson, he tickled her until she fell over, then pulled up her top, exposed her breasts and began to blow raspberries on her stomach. Other members of staff were aware of the meetings and extra tutorials they were having, which often took place late in the evening. RC-A30 had to tell her housemistress where she was going, so that nobody would come out looking for her when she did not return in time for her curfew. But the tutorials and the late hour were never questioned. De Cogan also gave her his mobile number and personal email address. On 6 December, a Saturday, he told her to come to see him to work on a project. He commented that he could see her nipples through her sweater, and then put his hand up her sweater and groped her breasts. He started to kiss her neck and moved his hand between her legs. She asked him to stop and grabbed his hand to prevent him from going further. But despite her saying ‘No’ he continued to massage her breasts, saying: ‘It’s wrong, but it feels nice’, and smiling. She described feeling humiliated and told us that he asked her not to tell anyone, saying that he would lose his job and she would be expelled.[267]

164. After that there were several occasions, often daily, when he would grab her and press her against the wall.

I felt very confused. It seemed paradoxical to me that somebody I had previously trusted to tell incredible, you know, personal things … how he could be so understanding … and then do things like this … I felt terribly confused, partly because … he seemed to have this reputation of integrity, and people would frequently comment that … he knew a lot about child protection and that, you know, he was very safe in that regard.[268]

165. The abuse continued and developed; there were regular incidents of sexual touching, digital penetration and of giving and receiving oral sex. These incidents took place on school grounds and became an almost daily occurrence.[269]

166. The assaults were often violent. RC-A30 told us that sometimes De Cogan would tie her up with ropes from the recording studio that were used to tie up the instruments. He told her that he fantasised about restraining her while having intercourse with her ‘so that he would be able to have complete control’.[270] She would then have to try and get out of the ropes. This happened late at night, in the music room, or at times he would take her into woods by school in a secluded area and tie her up there.[271] During another incident, De Cogan pushed RC-A30 against a wall and pulled her top. He then started to suck on her nipples and bite her. She told us:

I was struggling and protesting. It was very rough and very quick and abrupt. It was over and done within a few minutes ... I was trying to ... physically push him off … I was twisting and turning quite a lot and then it was over and he just ... walked out of the room without saying anything, as if nothing had happened.

167. RC-A30 described several other incidents when De Cogan forced his hands inside her vagina, exposed himself, forced her to perform oral sex on him[272] and forcibly inserted his fingers and penis[273] inside her anus. She told us: ‘After he did an action once, then it became like it was just expected that he would do that. Even if I made it clear, as I did all the time, that it wasn’t okay, that I didn’t want it.’[274] She blamed herself for the abuse and began to self-harm as a result.[275] She explained that: ‘I thought that I deserved – on the one hand … to be punished for what I was doing somehow, but also because he was making me feel so helpless and vulnerable and like I was nothing.’

168. RC-A30, reflecting on her experience of child protection at Ampleforth, told us that it became ‘less about what was best for the child, and more [about] what the school should do if a false accusation or ... allegation was made against a member of staff. It was more an atmosphere of fear rather than an atmosphere of caring and commonsense, I think.’[276] She said that De Cogan had boasted about the fact that he had learned the child protection policies very carefully, so he was able to turn them to his advantage, circumventing the rules to continue to abuse her.[277]

169. RC-A30 left Ampleforth in 2010. In 2011/2012 she began to disclose to a pastor what De Cogan had done to her. In April 2016, after several years of counselling, she reported the abuse to the police.[278] De Cogan was arrested on 13 April 2016. On 27 February 2017, he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual activity with a child aged 16/17 while in a position of trust. On 31 March 2017, he was sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment. In addition, the court imposed a restraining order (under the 1997 Protection of Harassment Act) in respect of RC-A30 and placed him on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years as well as the DBS barring list.[279]


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